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You’re depleting the goodwill you had in 2015, Catholic bishops warn Buhari
The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) have alerted President Muhammadu Buhari to the depletion of the “enormous amount of goodwill” with which he was welcomed to office in 2015.
This was part of a message the bishops delivered to President Muhammadu Buhari when they paid him a visit at the State House, Abuja, on Thursday.
The statement, signed by Ignatius Kaigama and William Avenya, President and Secretary of the CBCN respectively, noted that there is “too much suffering in the country, with poverty, hunger, insecurity, violence and fear” in the country today, and that the goodwill which won Buhari the 2015 general election, is fast waning.
“There is no doubt that when you came into office, you had an enormous amount of the goodwill of Nigerians … Nearly three years later, however, one has the feeling that this goodwill is being fast depleted by some glaring failures of government,” the statement.
“Our beloved country appears to be under siege. Many negative forces seem to be keeping a stranglehold on the population, especially the weaker and defenceless ones.
“There is a feeling of hopelessness across the country. Our youths are restive and many of them have taken to hard drugs, cultism and other forms of violent crime, while many have become victims of human trafficking. The nation is nervous.
“Just as we seem to be gradually emerging from the dark tunnel of an economic recession that caused untold hardship to families and individuals, violent attacks by unscrupulous persons, among whom are terrorists masquerading as herdsmen, have led to a near civil war situation in many parts of the country.
“Lives are wasted and property, worth billions of Naira, including places of worship, schools, hospitals and business enterprises are torched and turned to ashes.”
The Bishops said that the silence of the federal government, in the face of all these negative trends, was “shocking”.
I DIDN’T KEEP QUIET
It is quite frankly dishonest and unfair to insinuate that I am sitting doing nothing, while these killings are going on. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have and will continue to act in line with my responsibility as President to ensure security of lives and property.
— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) February 8, 2018
In his response, President Buhari rejected the insinuation that his administration was doing nothing to address the country’s numerous challenges.
“The impression created that I was sitting in an air-conditioned office and home, enjoying myself while these things happened, is dishonest,” Buhari said.
“At every step, I have tried to foresee these problems because I have the experience as a former military officer who commanded three out of the four divisions of the Nigerian Army in Lagos, Ibadan and Jos.
“I am quite aware of the problems we have and I am doing my best to get law enforcement agencies to be on alert.”
Buhari expressed regrets that the idea of cattle colonies, which the Federal Government had proposed as alternative to open grazing, which had led to a lot of violent crises, was misunderstood by majority of Nigerians.
He, however, assured the bishops that his administration would continue to explore several other options to ensure that peace returns to every part of the country.